Truzees experience on Dragon’s Den

Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen Angela Mahon, designer and founder of Truzees appearance on RTE’s Dragons’ Den.

The montage that you saw of Truzees was just a snippet of what went on behind the scenes, so here’s her inside story in case you’ve ever wondered what really happens in the Den…

Why We Said Yes to Participating on RTE’s Dragon’s Den

I had spent two years designing, developing and producing a range of baby gift products. When I became aware that RTE were seeking applicants for their 2016 show, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to get Truzees noticed in the Irish market. The timing was perfect – Dragon’s Den series would air in April and coincided with our official launch date for our new line of gifts. I did of course, also see the benefits of having the potential investment and a Dragon on board – The working capital and a Dragon’s knowledge and expertise, would ensure we had a strong foundation for lift off. We would be closer to achieving the exponential growth we desired in a shorter amount of time. Dragon’s Den just seemed to be the perfect fit and opportunity all round.

Our application was successful and resulted in Truzees being selected for the show. After personally meeting with the producers, I had to complete various elements of due diligence including sending financial reports, management information, forecasts and more. This is standard procedure and something I have become accustomed to having completed various entrepreneur programmes and accelerators such as Enterprise Irelands New Frontiers, Phase Two and the ACORNS initiative.

The next few weeks were spent compiling and practicing the perfect pitch, studying and dissecting the financial figures and forecasts and rehearsing the answers to the possible questions I could be asked.

I thought of backing out on numerous occasions…the night before my pitch the nerves got the better of me and I had decided against making an appearance. Thoughts circulated my mind as to how the final edit would turn out. What if they only showed the bad parts of my pitch? What if they edited it in a way to make my appearance more dramatic?  What if the Dragon’s made some awful comments about my products? What if it ruined my chances of launching Truzees successfully? Ultimately, the potential of a successful outcome outweighed the risks. It took a quick call to a friend of mine to focus me and put my mind back on track.

I wanted to create a strong and sustainable business for both me and my sons future. If I was going to do it, I was going to have to mitigate the risks involved – I was going to deliver my pitch without a hitch and be confident in the potential of my business. As long as I controlled the things in which I could, then the rest was up to the Dragon’s personal preferences…or the editing process. I made sure to perfect my pitch, to know my numbers inside out and to be ready for any questions the Dragon’s may have.

Fast Forward To Pitch Day

Before it was my time to pitch, I honestly thought about running straight out the door. The nerves had kicked in full force. Again, I had to keep telling myself that if out of the experience, derived a positive outcome, Truzees would benefit greatly.

Walking in to pitch was a very surreal, exciting and nerve racking experience. I had never experienced a TV production atmosphere – the ambiance was something knew to me and added an additional layer of insecurity. Standing infront of the Dragons, I reamed off my pitch…I knew this inside-out. Pitch prefect, what seemed like an eternity, the Dragon’s began to ask the standard questions, margins, predicted turnover, route to market… Again, my rehearsed answers flowed. This was easy…But seemed to be going TOO easy. Nobody seemed to ask me any challenging questions. Was it because I was so well rehearsed or was it a lack of interest on their part. I began to feel like I was losing them. I was losing the opportunity.  It crossed my mind to act a little more crazy. Heck if I wasn’t getting investment, then maybe I should go for some good air time. My personality definitely didn’t shine but that was because inside I was eaten up with nerves. I was so self conscious and aware. My focus was on making sure a Dragon would not utter one negative comment. It would take just one bad comment and my business could be portrayed in the wrong light.